Flu deaths are a family affair

January 9th, 2008 - 2:33 pm ICT by admin  


London, Jan 9 (ANI): In a new study on flu deaths, researchers at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City found that blood relatives of flu victims were more likely to die than non-relatives, and that the risk was greater the more closely related the people were.

The findings are based on a study, in which Lisa Albright and her colleagues looked at death certificates and family records going back 100 years, reports New Scientist.

During the study, they found that nearly 5000 people were reported to have died of flu, 2000 of them in the 1918 pandemic.

Their findings further revealed that blood relatives of flu victims were more likely to die than non-relatives, even during different flu outbreaks, and the risk was greater for those who were more closely related.

They found that siblings were 74 per cent more likely to die of flu than unrelated people, and blood uncles and first cousins of flu victims were 22 and 16 per cent more likely.

Even victims’ spouses were also more likely to die, probably because they lived in the same house.

However, relatives of the spouse were not at increased risk, though they probably visited the household as often as the victim’s relatives.

According to researchers, the study suggests a genetic component.

Now, the team is tracking relatives of people who died recently to see if they too are at increased risk, and if flu vaccination helps.

The study is published in the Journal of Infectious Diseases. (ANI)

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